Plainfield Township Historical Commission

A glimpse into the past

In 1918 Mrs. Nellie Nunn Jennings wrote an article for the Michigan Historical Commission describing the early history of Plainfield Township.  She describes the first meeting taking place on 6 April 1868 at the B.M. Earl home.  At this meeting it was voted to raise $150 by tax for Plainfield Township purposes. The first township officers were elected.  Samuel W. Chilson was voted as supervisor; Anson L. Abbott, clerk; B.M. Earl, treasurer; and Eli B. Chilson, school inspector. 


Earl tax page     1869 tax roll whole page

Barzilla Earl with wife, Annie, and mother Lucinda was found in the 1870 census living in Plainfield Township.  Real estate value was $1000 and personal property was $3000.  For 1870 these are substantial sums. Next I checked the Plainfield Township tax rolls for 1869.  B.M. Earl is listed 3 times on page 2.  He owed $219.10 on personal property in Section 33, Township 23N Range 7E. (23N 7E is now Wilber Township)  Earl owned two 40 acre parcels, both in Township 23N Range 7E. No taxes are shown next to those parcels; the amount owed may have been included on the personal property tax line.  He did not pay any road tax in 1869.


Chilson tax page     Abbott tax page

Samuel W. Chilson, the first township supervisor, left quite a few records in Iosco County, Michigan.  In 1870 he was living in Tawas with his family, but still owned land in Plainfield Township.  In 1869 he was listed as paying $322.50 for personal property on Township 23N Range 7E in Section 31 and owning 40 acres in the same section with a value of $65.25.  He is listed as paying a road tax in 1869. In 1870, Chilson had added to his real estate with the purchase of an 80 acre and a 40 acre parcel also in the same section.  A family tree on Ancestry indicates he had a son die in October of 1868 in Plainfield Township.  Eli Chilson, the son of Samuel Chilson, was the School Inspector.  Eli Burton Chilson was 23 when he died from an accidental leg wound caused by a rifle ball.  Samuel W. Chilson continued on the tax rolls until 1877.  In 1878, Township 23N Range 7E became part of Wilbur Township.


Anson Abbott, the township clerk, was living in Tawas, Iosco County in 1870.  E.F. Abbott did pay personal property taxes of $263.15 in 1869 in Section 8 Township 23N 7E.  Anson had a son named Eden Farnsworth Abbott.  Anson does not appear on any of the Plainfield Township tax rolls, but E.F. Abbott continues to pay taxes on personal property until 1874.  In 1874 Eden F. Abbott is shown owning 160 acres in Section 8 Township 23N 7E with a value of $60.  Abram L. Abbott was taxed on 80 acres in Section 21 Township 23N 6E.  Abram L. Abbott was the younest son of Anson Abbott.  Range 6E is part of Plainfield Township today.  Anson Abbott died in 1876.


The tax rolls and road taxes for Plainfield Township from 1869 to 1885 have been transcribed.  An all name index is posted on the Virtual Museum.


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Visit us on Facebook or email us at:  The PTHC office is located down the hall from the library in Hale.  Office hours are Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until noon.  You can now reach us at 989-218-3200 on Tuesdays or leave a message.